Updated: Feb 28
Real estate investing is a great way to build long-lasting wealth, but many people are scared of getting into the space. However, you don’t have to be. You just need to be ready to put in hard work and have the right mindset. In this episode, Renee Williams sits down for an interview with real estate investor and agent Ashlee Chapman. Ashlee talks about how she got into the real estate game as an ISA, and later as an investor. She discusses what type of real estate she avoids and shares a story on a deal she is proud of closing. Tune in to learn more real estate tips and tricks on Agent Exit Radio.
Mentioned on this episode:
Ashlee Chapman - www.differentkindofrealestate.com/
Agent Investor Podcast - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/agent-investor-podcast/id1245797759
Middleton Group - https://middletongroupsd.com/team/
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Top Producer Ego vs. Real Estate Investing With Ashlee Chapman
I am here with Ashlee Chapman. She is the Owner at Chapman Investments. We're going to take a deep dive into real estate agents doing some real estate investing at a whole lot more. Welcome to the show, Ashlee.
Thank you so much, Renee. I do appreciate it. Women in real estate, I love it.
I found you by stalking another podcast that I want to give them a huge plug. It's the Agent Investor Podcast, which has the best title ever. You are on one of the episodes there talking about inside sales agents, which is a huge bonus to real estate businesses. Tell us about how you got started.
When I first started in real estate, my job title was Inside Sales Agent. I was on the phone, cold calling 6 to 8 hours a day nonstop. Talk about a grind. On top of that, I was cold calling, in 2017, pre-foreclosures. I was given a dialer and a bunch of pre-foreclosure leads, which to a lot of people back then in 2017, there are none, but there were a ton. That launched me forward into the investment side, walking into houses, knowing these are complete gut jobs realizing, "I have something here."
I fell into the investment realm through being an ISA, and I wasn't licensed when I started. All I did was cold call for the broker who either took the listing or bought a flip. That teaches you a lot. I didn't have anybody, a script or anything to hold my hand through that process. It is a big bonus to your business considering the amount of money I made when they closed a deal. Now I understand what they were making. Hire an ISA because it will change your entire business plan.
Tell me a little bit more about that. As an ISA, you're working 6 to 8 hours a day. You're calling from the team's office because that was pre-Zoom, before everybody was at home, everybody's in the office, so you're making calls from the office. Did you have a specific quota, a number or a target that you were trying to hit?
I cold-called from home a lot too, but my schedule was 10:00 to 1:00 outbound calling nonstop, so three hours from 1:00 to 4:00, stop, and 4:00 to 7:00, outbound calling again. That was my schedule. The numbers became simple and very clear. If I talked to 100 people, I can close 20 on appointments or at least 10.
Find somebody that you can mold because they'll grow with you. They won't grow away from you.
I was looking for a 10% to 20% close ratio on appointments. For those appointments, you're probably going to get 2 to 5 of them as contracts. That was the goal. On average, I was setting between 3 and 7 appointments a week. It was consistent outbound calling that hit my numbers so well. I didn't always hit my numbers. There were times where I didn't have an appointment on the calendar for two weeks, but all in all on average, at least three appointments.
I have two more questions on this ISA topic. Do you remember what the pay structure was like when you started?
Commission-based. It was like a base plus commission. If I didn't close the deal, I didn't get paid.
It was a base plus commission, but to get the base, you had to close something.
The other question was, before you were an ISA or had a real estate license, just to give the audience an idea of the kinds of people that we might be looking for to be ISAs in our business, what were you doing before?
I used to be in car sales, and then I moved directly into real estate. I sold cars up in Seattle and I quit randomly one day and moved to San Diego. I didn't have anything lined up. I started getting my real estate license and started working as an ISA, sight unseen. Car sales before I jumped to real estate.
I want the readers to understand. Ladies, when you're building your business and your army of ISAs, we're going to help you put rocket fuel in the tank. It’s probably best that those ISAs don't come from a real estate background because the splits that they're concerned about, that's not the attitude, demeanor and the mindset of a person who sells. It's different when you have an agent that you're trying to turn into an ISA. It's almost better to bring in a raw ISA on the sales side, and then turn them into an agent eventually, which is where you ended up going, Ashlee.
There’s so much to be said about that because now in my business, the things that I didn't understand when I first started, when I am looking at people who don't want to make the cold calls and do the activity that breeds the result, it is so insane to me. I'm like, "If I had somebody who dedicated this much time to me when I started, I would probably be years further.” What I feel like would be many years further in my business, and it's only been few years. Find somebody that you mold because they'll grow with you. They won't grow away from you.
What's your business like now? What are you doing now?
My business is so different than when I first started. I am heavy on the acquisition side. I work with the Middleton Group. Luke Middleton is one of my partners. I love him. We do flips. I've done a lot of wholesale business. I bought my first buy-and-hold property. That has transformed my life. It's looking for deals. Everyone once in a while on the phone and cold call again, and I'll somehow snag an appointment almost every time, but it's looking for cash deals. I want to buy property. I don't want to be a real estate agent. That is the most heartbreaking thing to a lot of people.
People and a lot of women too are going to be shocked, but that's my dream. My dream is to make money and make it forever without doing anything. It looks like I want to flip houses right now, build up capital, prepare for the next downturn and teach people because I'm so fortunate in my place and my business. It's a lot different from when I was an ISA trying to be a real estate agent.
I want to talk a little bit more about that because our show, like our entire premise, is about having an income that comes in beyond your last commission check. When you close your last buyer or seller at whatever age, and you decide, "I want to exit production,” what money do you have coming in? That's the question I'm trying to get the audience to ask themselves, to ask ourselves, "What money do I have to pay all of my expenses, no matter what they are? To give charitable contributions to my favorite charity or my church, to take care of my mom and dad, if my parents are still with me, or to do fun stuff with my grandkids if I'm of that age?” What money do you have coming in to support that?
You have to let go of the ego and decide what your future is going to be like, and quit making excuses.
If we don't lay the foundation to start getting some passive income and getting these investment properties, there are many ways to do it. We're talking about investment properties, but the income won't be there if you're not doing that. People here are like, "I don't want to necessarily work with clients anymore. I want to do real estate investing.” That's almost like blasphemy. We're real estate agents. They’re like, "No. Don't say that. Don’t say you don't want to work with clients anymore." For me, I'm like a light bulb that goes off because how do you make the decision in your business that you're going to make that switch from working with clients to mostly doing the investment?
I can get pretty real with this question. The thing about exiting production is production feeds our ego and it completely feeds you. Even for me, I have that downfall, too. It feeds my ego sometimes. I'm like, “I closed $5.5 million in volume this month,” and that's pretty impressive, but you have to decide. To close that, that's a grind. That is literally showing houses and listing houses. I don't care what it is. People give buyers and agents a bunch of crap. It is the ego that feeds us to continue grinding like that. It's something that you have to make the decision about. It is not all about production. It is so much easier to buy houses.
It is so easy to buy real estate and people are scared. They look at a 20% down payment and they're like, "That's a lot of money. That's so much. I don't have 20% down. Let's call it $100,000." When they become an agent, everybody's goal is to make $100,000 in their first year, but what did they do with those funds? If you start now and you quit making excuses like, "I don't know. It's too expensive. It's too this. It's too that,” you're going to be 50 years old, grinding, closing $5 million in production every month, and you're going to look back and be like, "I totally missed the train."
That is, to me, the difference agents have to make. It feels good for your brokerage to be like, "You're number two this month." What are you going to be later on? You have to let go of the ego and decide what your future is going to be like and quit making excuses. I hear agents say it all the time, "I want to flip a house, but I don't have the funds." You don't have the funds because you didn't raise the capital. There are so many different things that you can do. The one thing is buying real estate is the easiest thing in the world. You don't have to use any of your own money if you don't want to, but you have to get creative. This stuff is not rocket science. It is just activity.
I don't even deal with traditional real estate transactions anymore. If that's something you still want in your business, then keep your team as a separate thing, and then work on your investments, but you have to be a true leader in that fashion if you're going to do both. When I say that, you can't leave your team hanging because you're over here buying property.
You have to have them both going at the same trajectory so that they can work together instead of work against each other. A lot of big agents who are big investors lose sight of one or the other because we can't be a jack of all trades. We have to do one or the other. We cannot always do both. You have to make that decision on your own time.
There’s so much I want to unpack about what you said. Going all the way back to, "You're going to be 50 years old and still doing real estate." That's my audience. We're like 50 and over. I'm sorry, everybody here.
I messed up.
You're fine. You're right, though. Sometimes we’ve got to put on our big girl panties and say, "I could have done this better. I might be 55 or 75 and still doing real estate on a transactional basis, and not having to put aside what I needed to so that I can get out of this thing." The other part of what you were saying was that if you're running both, there are many agents who do both.
Especially when it comes to having the team and the real estate investing, if you build a good team, which we do talk about in the episode, Getting A Grip On Your Real Estate Business Operations. I talk about how you need to have a team and you need to have a director of operations who's responsible for the team, so then that person can run things on the team side while you are free to work on your business and not work in your business.
That's a huge part. Hiring that person will allow you the freedom. You want to pay them well and make sure that their dreams are coming true, but you want to have your teams structured in a way that you can have multiple streams of income going at the same time. When you're ready to exit, you can just exit and it's not a huge disruptor for everybody because your name was on the door. You were doing everything and all of a sudden, you want to stick somebody there and leave. That's not going to work.
You have to plan when you're building your team and your real estate investing portfolio. Those two things need to work hand-in-hand. I wanted to point that out when you were saying that. The other thing is the ego. We've got many cappers reading. People are like, "I capped in the first month." They're so proud of everything that they've accomplished as agents, and they are proud of that grind.
They should be. The thing is, it's not about that. It becomes an excuse as to why people don't start investing. That is the problem. It's not about being great at what it is that you do. I love it. Everybody should feel proud of themselves, but if it becomes an excuse as to why you're not getting started in the investment world, you have to decide which one you are going to do and how you are going to do both if you're going to do both to do it. That's the question that people have, is they get so stuck in this grind, and so it's just a grind. It can be an excuse. It sounds harsh, but it is true at the end of the day.
People give buyer's agents a bunch of crap. It is the ego that feeds us to continue grinding like that.
Hiring is the first step in getting out of the grind but continuing with production or having great production numbers. If you don't have an assistant, you need an assistant. If you don't have a transaction coordinator, you need to have a transaction coordinator. If you don't have an ISA, you need to have an ISA, and then at some point, put one of those people in charge. Probably your assistant or director of operations or something, so that side of your business keeps going as you start to look for properties that you can acquire. For the acquisitions, how are people bringing you deals? Do other agents bring you deals or are you purely doing dialers and ISAs? What are you doing to acquire properties for your personal?
I'll jump on the phones and cold call. I love cold calling. I do enjoy it. It is how I built my whole business. I can't do it as much as I used to, but other agents, for sure. We locked up a deal that I'm sending the earnest money in for. An agent sent it to us. I went and looked at it. We wrote the contract. It was that quick. Whereas if I would assign a cold call, it probably would've taken me a week to get that deal. I get deals from other agents, and also I'll go knock on people's doors. I've done it a whole heck of a lot and I can say it works.
We door-knock for buyers and sellers. Why not door-knock for investing purposes? It sounds good to me. It sounds like it all works. Do you have an acquisition, something that you can tell us about quickly so that we can get an idea? You're in San Diego. I know that real estate prices are so different across the country, but everybody came off of a rocket summer. It's been crazy. Can you tell us about maybe one acquisition that you can think of that sticks out, like how you got it, what you paid for it, and what are you thinking about doing with it?
There is one in particular that sticks out to me and it sounds pathetic. I got sent this address by somebody who was like, "You need to cold call this guy." I was like, "Okay." The house is off-market. I saw it was on the market during March of 2020. It was on the market. It went pending, and then it fell out because of COVID, the shutdown and everything.
I skipped traced him. I called him up and he told me to F-off and not call him back. I called him probably four times back-to-back that night because I was feeling competitive. I wanted him to answer the phone and I was like, "I noticed his number because his voicemail says it's John and he's the owner," so I knew it was him.
He told me not to call him back and unless we were going to pay $1.6 million for it. I was like, "That's a good number." I was like, "I've never heard that before,” then he hung up on me, and then he wouldn't answer the phone. I was like, "What the heck?" I kept calling him over and over again. I didn't call him back that night. I ran the numbers and I was like, "Done. I'm writing a contract right now."
I wrote up the contract and then I tried to find his email address and I couldn't. The next day I called him over and over again until he answered, and he finally called me back that night and he was like, "You're persistent," and he was nice to me. I was like, "I have a contract in hand with proof of funds for $1.6 million. Can you please send me your email address?"
He sent me his email address and 24 hours after that, we signed the contract. We closed two months later. We ended up thinking that after renovation, the value on that property was $2.5 million and probably closer to $3 million. We went through. I got all the permits and ended up selling it for $2.4 million cash before the remodel was even done. It's probably my favorite acquisition of all time. I jam this one. It sounds stupid, but I loved the fact that he called me back because I was like, "I do have an offer for $1.6 million and I want to open escrow."
What I love about you, and I'm hoping that it will through and rub off on me, is this boldness to keep calling. It's hard enough, no matter our background, for most of us to pick up the phone and cold calling in the first place. That's hard already, but to keep calling after somebody tells you to F-off, I shrank into a raisin and I'm so small. I'm under a rock, like, "I don't ever want to call this guy back," and you kept calling. I love it. Thankfully, he gave you a number. Had he not said $1.6 million, would you have asked him, “What is your number?”
Yes, I would have, and I probably would have kept calling him because I drove by the house and I was like, "This is a good deal. We have to buy this. This is a no-brainer." I don't even know. I was like, "No. Whether he told me $1.6 million or not, I would have gotten it out of him somehow." I knew the house was on the market for $1.7 million. I knew we couldn't pay $1.7 million for it.
I knew it fell out for some reason, and he probably wasn't going to tell me because his attitude was terrible. I probably would have asked him like, "What does a good offer look like for you and would you be ready to close?" I knew he would sell, considering the fact that the house was in the market and it was a fixer. When he sold it to us, he didn't tell us about the code violations from the city. That was a whole other can of worms. I would have asked him at some point. I wouldn't have said that's the number. I would have danced around it and got him to start talking.
For those of us who are terrified of doing this cold calling, you've given us two ways that you've acquired properties. One, by cold calling, which is very natural for you. Two, an agent sent you or told you about a property. That was a different property, right?
It is super important to pay attention because things are going to change. We just don't know how.
There's more than one way to skin a cat. I'm trying to prove to the audience that there are many ways to do acquisitions and real estate investing. Pick your niche. You can pick foreclosures and short sales. Name it and claim it. Pick one. You don't have to do it all, but there are so many ways to get going. Is your business split up? Do you have a pie like it’s 50% foreclosures, 25% short sales? Do you have any way that split up?
I probably never want to do another short-sale ever again in my life. I started in foreclosures and I'll leave them. My business is distressed properties. Affidavit of death, just death in general and probate. Sometimes it can be foreclosures. I try to stay far away from that because it's messy. I closed a short sale that was eleven months, and I was like, "It's so much back and forth bank." It's distressed. It tends to be a lot of deaths. Two properties that we bought, both of them, a family passed away in the house. A lot of that, but there is no, "I'm hitting on a cold call." The cold call is the greatest stress relief that I think of. That's all of it.
Forbearance, that's coming out now. That's hot. Ninety days late. People who are 90 days late on their mortgage. I've gotten so many calls from that. Ninety days that aren't a foreclosure yet, but they're going to be, and a heads up, you can't tell them that you know they're 90 days late on their mortgage. That's a real hot lead source. If you don't know how to get those leads, talk to your title rep.
I want to dive a little bit deeper on that one. In a previous episode, I was talking to another agent here in the Houston area who was talking about what's coming up now with the forbearance for people who, during the pandemic, were not able to make mortgage payments. The anticipation is that there is going to be a lot of hustle and bustle going on in the industry or in the markets with people who are not able to pay those who are then going to be in trouble and may need to offload those homes. If you're a real estate investor, this is a great time to start doing your homework and looking for opportunities. Is that what you are referring to when you say forbearance?
Yes. The real estate agents in the country are on this. You said it. They came off a hot summer. This is one of the hottest real estate markets in history. It's insanely hot to be a real estate agent right now. I laughed so hard. Everybody wants to be a real estate agent. It is better to be a real estate investor. All this hotness, it's to cool down. This will breed multimillionaires. This next chapter of whatever is going to happen, but you will be rich if you pay attention. A lot of people are like, "When the market changes, what are we going to do?" Every single person and investor I know are leveraging this market right now.
That's why we're flipping many houses right now. I'm not going to flip houses forever. It is a means to an end. A lot of people want to start flipping houses because they think it's all fun, games, and a design show. It's a headache. It is tough, but it breeds the capital that you can then later use when these forbearances come up. They're popping up left and right. Those are the properties you want to buy. You want to hang on to them for 20 to 30 years, and that's your retirement.
If you're sitting there right now and you're wondering, "How am I going to get into this," that's how you're going to do it. It is super important to pay attention because things are going to change. We just don't know how. In 2008 and 2009, I was in eighth grade, but I remember seeing for sale signs everywhere.
I know a lot of people who say the same thing, “Invest in every capital.” They're doing the things to make money, and then they're going to sit on it and wait. That's going to be the time that people are going to build a real business. When real estate agents can't make money, the busters are going to. It's going to weed out a lot of people, but it's going to be a lot of fun.
If we want to know more, how do we find you? What's your web address?
DifferentKindOfRealEstate.com or you can hit me up on Instagram and wherever you want, my phone number, business line, Google Voice number. I don't give out my personal number because I've been stalked before, but you can reach me on my business line. I have people who call me all the time for things. It's not a paid coaching session. If you want to chat about or have questions about something that you want to chat about, give me a call.
Thank you so much for the information. You have a spoof on your website that is so funny. A client who is saying the most horrible things about you. I sat there watching that. I was like, "Why would she put this on her website? This is awful." I thought to myself, "It's got to be going somewhere good or she would not have put this on our website."
I love Rod. He's probably one of my funniest clients ever. There are certain people I do want to work with as an agent because I enjoy them as people. I met Rod through cold calling. He's like a journalist or something, but he did a video that he sent me. He stalked me online. He's like, "I can work with you."
He sent me a video that I made. It was the dead cat video, and then he sent me his, which was hilarious. It was like the skit. I realized, "We have to do a video. I was like, "Would you be down?" He was like, "Yes." I said, "I want you to say terrible things about me.” He agreed. It was fun and it was funny.
It is better to be a real estate investor because when all this hotness cools down, this will breed multi-millionaires.
It is hilarious. How many views has it gotten on YouTube? Do you know?
I got it on the website. I didn't go to YouTube to look at it, but it's wonderful.
I'll have to go look at that. Thank you. I appreciate it.
I love it when agents and investors are doing great things on social because it's so catchy and it's a good way to get in front of people. I know that's a different show for a different day, but congrats on that. It's a great video. Check out Ashlee's website and have a look at the video. You'll love it.
Thank you so much.
Episode – Agent Investor Podcast episode with Ashlee Chapman
Getting A Grip On Your Real Estate Business Operations – Previous Episode
Instagram – Ashlee Chapman
About Ashlee Chapman
Ashley Chapman is a real estate agent and investor in San Diego County specializing in distressed properties. Problem solving is ultimately her job, being creative and thinking outside the box. Ashlee is extremely passionate about developing strong relationships that evolve into every day friendships with her clients and partners in the industry. To Ashlee entrepreneurship means creating her own vision and legacy through hard work and seeing past the comfortability that so many people fear letting go of.